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Welsh Onion (Allium fistulosum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Welsh Onion
Allium fistulosum

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20].

  • Medicinal Use

    The bulb is antibacterial, antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, stomachic, vermifuge and vulnerary[176, 218]. It is used in the treatment of colds and abdominal coldness and fullness[176]. A tea made from the roots is a children’s sedative[218]. Use of the bulb in the diet impedes internal parasites[218]. Externally, the bulb can be made into a poultice to drain pus from sores, boils and abscesses[254].

  • Edible Use

    Bulb – raw or cooked[2]. A strong onion flavour, it can be used in salads, as a cooked vegetable or as a flavouring in cooked foods[22, K]. The bulbs are rather small, perhaps 25mm in diameter, and are sometimes used as spring onions[183]. A nutritional analysis is available[218].

    Leaves – raw or cooked[2]. They have a mild onion flavour[183] and can be added to salads or cooked as a vegetable[116]. The leaves are often available all through the winter if the weather is not too severe[K]. They contain about 1.4% protein, 0.3% fat, 4.6% carbohydrate, 0.8% ash, some vitamin B1 and moderate levels of vitamin C[179].

    Flowers – raw. A pleasant onion flavour, but they are rather on the dry side[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates over a wide range of temperatures, it is faster at higher temperatures[206]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. When well-grown, the plants should be ready to be planted out in the summer. If they are not large enough at this time, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring. Division of the plants is very easy and can be done at almost any time of the year though the spring is probably best. The divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.
An easily grown plant[203], it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1] but tolerates most soils[1, 52] including those that are damp and acid[203]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5[206], but it tolerates a pH in the range 4.9 to 7.5. A very hardy species, it is related to the cultivated onion (A. cepa) and could be of value in breeding programmes. It is sometimes cultivated in the garden for its edible leaves which can be produced throughout the winter if the weather is not too severe[K]. A very popular cultivated vegetable in the Orient[206], it probably arose through cultivation from A. altaicum[203]. The oriental forms of this species, known as bunching onions, tend to be hardier and more robust than the welsh onion[206]. There are two basic forms, multi-stem types and single-stem types. The single-stem types divide less freely than the multi-stems[206]. Plants will often retain their leaves even when covered in snow[206]. They are also tolerant of high temperatures and can be grown in the tropics[206]. The plants are often eaten by slugs[K]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants[203]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
E. Asia? The original habitat is obscure.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.